Aberdeen Bridge under threat from fishermen dynamites
The Aberdeen Bridge and businesses along that end are currently under threat as local fishermen continue to fire dynamites under the bridge on a daily basis. With ongoing unregulated fishing activities under the bridge, visible crack marks are seen on the pillars holding the bridge which links the center of Freetown and the Aberdeen Community. The bridge is a major structure that serves the city’s touristic zone and a major hub for residents and business houses along that path.
On Wednesday December 2, 2020, a huge sound was heard beneath the bridge that shook the entire area, disrupting the entire Sea coach operations as passengers were getting ready to go to Lungi airport.
The entire area went into chaos with passengers in panic as they were getting ready to onboard one of Sea Coach’s vessels.
“This is not the first time we have been scared this much. The sound was so big that it reminds us about one of the war years. I am still nervous and something needs to be done to stop these kinds of activities here, a Passenger told pressmen.
Chief Executive Officer of Sea Coach Express, Olusegun Jaji stated that local fishermen are in the habit of firing dynamite on a daily basis, thus affecting the company’s business.
“This time round everybody was scared and we were all in danger as they fired the dynamites. The dynamite was fired at close range to our boats, making workers and passengers to panic. I was right inside the boat and could have been killed if not for the grace of God,” he said.
According to him, such type of fishing destroys the fish stock because when they fire the dynamite, it kills every other fish around- be it little or big ones.
Mr. Jaji said apart from his business, the type of fishing method use is also destroying the Aberdeen Bridge and would one day leads to deaths.
“This must stop and the reason I have supported the police before this time with a boat. But this seems not to be working. The fishermen are not even afraid of the police anymore as they now come very close to our business right under the bridge to fire dynamites, Mr. Jai noted.
He called for the immediate intervention by government to put a stop to such behavior and disclosed that his company had provided local fishermen with boats so that they can abandon the bad fishing method.
Police Officer, Clarkson Momoh of the Aberdeen Police post said the police have apprehended local fishermen using dynamite on several occasions.
“We have made several arrests and charge to court but these people continue. The Sea Coach express has helped them with boats and even employed a good number of them but they continue this type of fishing. We have all seen the destruction of bridges across the city due to human activities. These people are also destroying the fish stock,” he said.
The police officer assured of engaging local fishermen for them to see reason and stop firing dynamites, which is not a good fishing method and must be discourage.
“We have alerted our bosses including the ONS and the EPA on the activities of these local fishermen. We don’t want to see people dying as result of this type of fishing. And the most dangerous thing about it is that they are now firing the dynamite very close to the human population. This is worrisome,” he noted.